Everybody knows the Israeli chocolate bar, Krembo, but has anyone heard of the Youth organization “Krembo Wings”? This unique organization is an inclusive youth movement in Israel for children and youth with severe special needs, providing weekly social activities for hundreds of young people with all types of mental or physical disabilities & their able-bodied peers. On Tuesday evening, Haifa players Gregory Vargas and Tal Aviram visited the organization weekly activity at the Haifa branch.
Each student is accompanied by two mentors, who are of high school age, and they meet one time a week – for a 90-minute activity. The joint activity brings awareness to the population for those with special needs, as the mentors assist the students to integrate into Israeli society.
The Haifa branch serves approximately 40 students, ages 8-to-21, accompanied by 80 mentors. The students come to the activities at Begin community Center, with organized transportation and without their parents. Each 90-minute activity is dedicated to a subject, as the students split into two groups, according to their capabilities and communication skills.
In Tuesday’s activity with the Maccabi Haifa players, both groups split into a few stations, including a station for basketball, bowling and dancing, as the players joined each group and played with the students and the mentors.
Watch Vargas and Aviram as they try to learn sign language
“It’s my first community activity with the team, and we had great time with the friends at ‘Krembo Wings’,” Tal Aviram said. “The cooperation between the mentors, who are teenagers, and with the students, inspired us a lot and showed us what it means to give back.”
The teenage mentors play a big role within “Krembo Wings”, as they prepare before and after each activity to make sure everything works well the students.
“We were very happy to have Maccabi Haifa here. I think that for both students and mentors, it was like a dream come true,” said Or, a mentor at Haifa branch. “Those kinds of activities make us very happy, and when they take place, I feel that they are empowering both students as well as the mentors.”